Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops addressed the media one final time Wednesday, a day away from the Capital One Orange Bowl against No. 1-ranked Clemson.
Sooners Illustrated was there and here are the three biggest things to take away from the 30-minute event.
Take No. 1: The 2015 team has been special
When you think about the 2015 OU team, the word character comes to mind. The character the group has shown on and off the field, but also how a lot of the guys are characters of their own.
They haven’t been afraid to be who they are, no matter what that means.
“Yeah, a real joy,” Stoops said. “One of my really all-time favorite years because of the players. Just their interaction and respect for one another, the way they listen to us, to the coaches, and you know, their intensity and focus, and you're right, we have a lot of strong personalities.
“But a lot of chemistry on the team.”
Sometimes it can feel like the chemistry is forced, but that’s never really been the case regarding the 2015 group. They had to deal with a lot of tough situations, and they came together instead of busting apart.
Take No. 2: Coaches can only do so much
Another line of thinking echoed often throughout this season from Stoops has been it cannot be all up to him to get the guys ready to play.
The coaches can only put in so much work because when it comes right down to it, the desire has to come from within.
As a coach, I don't want to act like we all can push every button,” Stoops said. “In the end, players ask about motivation. I said, you know who I motivate? Whoever the heck wants to be motivated. If you don't want to be motivated, it's not going anywhere.
“That's a player's responsibility. When you're 18, 19, 20, 21 years old, nobody is going to fool you into wanting to play for four hours. You be a man and you play.”
Never did that appear more than after the humbling loss to Texas where the leaders took their turn making a speech and setting the tone for the final seven games of the regular season.
Take No. 3: Stoops stands by Mixon’s punishment, role on team
There was a lot of talk about Joe Mixon following his first media engagement Tuesday afternoon. Stoops has always said Mixon was punished and earned the right to come back to Sooners.
Nothing changed in his rationale Wednesday morning.
“Well, you know, again, it's a situation that was very unfortunate, and Joe was penalized,” Stoops said. “Joe was removed from the team for a year, and we believe as a university that you give people second chances if they can do certain things to grow from it and learn from it.
“There is no excuse ever for violence against women at all. But Joe, again, as an 18 year old and a person we felt, and the circumstances that surrounded it all, that he deserved a second chance, with strict guidelines moving forward, but he's met all of those. He's been a really good student. He's been a great teammate to everybody. So he continues to do the things that the university has set in front of him to do to be given that second chance.”